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Old January 28th, 2007, 01:14 AM   #1
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Advice for approach to project

Hello everyone!

I have recently been challenged with editing 4 hours of footage down to a 3 minute piece. The footage consists of several man-on-the-street interviews, along with a lot of action sequences of children playing in the park. Quite a bit of the footage was shot on the run by different shooters who just handed off their tapes to me. Upon initail viewing, I found quite a bit of the footage to be totally unusable. This was due to excessive camera shake or the shooter leaving their cameras on although there was there was no action. I dread having to go through all of the tapes looking for the good stuff!

What would you go about approaching this project?

1. Would you capture ALL of the footage and then make sub-clips of the best material? (This might be easiest because I could quickly scrub the time line while making sub-clips of the usable material). Hard drive space is not much of an issue, but I don't like the idea of capturing and storing a lot of crap footage!

2. Would you go through the footage, logging and then batch capturing only the usuable material? (very time consuming and hard on my video camera because I don't have a VTR, but easier to manage the footage and storage).

3. I thought of just capturing each tape then exporting copies of the decent footage, then deleting the original material. This would give me individual files that would be easier to manage; the bad thing would be that I'd be working with a second generation footage and there would be a bit of degradation. Since the final piece is going to be shown on a large screen, I need to maintain as much quality as possible. However, I don't know if working on second generation footage is ultimately going to that much of the big deal if the final edit is visually strong.

If you have any suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate it!!

FYI, the footage was shot on SD (miniDV 3 chip cameras) and I have around 600GB of hard drive space to work with. I'll be doing the edit on a MacPro with Final Cut.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 02:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Wilson
Hello everyone!


3. I thought of just capturing each tape then exporting copies of the decent footage, then deleting the original material. This would give me individual files that would be easier to manage; the bad thing would be that I'd be working with a second generation footage and there would be a bit of degradation. Since the final piece is going to be shown on a large screen, I need to maintain as much quality as possible. However, I don't know if working on second generation footage is ultimately going to that much of the big deal if the final edit is visually strong.
#3 is what I would do. I may be mistaken but MiniDV being digital is not supposed to be susceptible to "generational degradation" as long as the export process is to a similar digital media.

I capture from 3ccd MiniDV to full DV capture (.AVI file format), do some rough editing and export to an .AVI file format (my NLE only has 2 video tracks and sometimes I need to do 2 or more overlays), recapture the exported file and reedit.

Sometimes even to a 3rd generation. And so far I cannot see any noticeable degradation.

In your case I would run a test. Capture a fairly short segment and export, recapture from the exported file and compare both original capture and recapture. Hook up a digital projector and project as large as you can to make your final comparison.

I don't think you have significant degradation to worry about.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 07:30 AM   #3
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From a relative novice,

(so this may not be much help), but...

FWIW...and probably not a revelation to either of you...I've been working under the impression that the demon of degradation in dv rears its' ugly little head when a file that has been compressed once is compressed a second time. So, I thought that if you capture, then export to .AVI, then import the .AVI and edit that, recompression should not occur, hence no degradation. (I'm not sure that's how it would work, but I'm confident there are others who contribute to this forum who are. Hopefully, they'll chime in).
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Old January 28th, 2007, 08:24 AM   #4
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I'd capture it all. Use scene detection to help break it up into sub clips. Delete the obvious garbage. Subclip the relevant pieces, placing them in the appropriate bins for editing. Edit the piece and consolidate.

But then I cut on Avid.

It helps a lot if you have a concept of what you are going to cut, before you start to even capture. I can typically shoot an hour per minute of run and gun documentary stuff, or even behind the scenes stuff. So your ratio is not unusuall.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 02:33 PM   #5
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I'd capture it all.... Get a cup of coffee and start watching it. When I edit, I find all sorts of gems hiding in the roll-outs and rough footage. I'd simply capture it all, log it tape for tape. Then as you cruise through it and find the good stuff, create a set of selects from the tapes to edit with. Many times, there may be cool stuff to transition with, or cut away too, that at first appears to be just garbage. Additionally, as much as it's sometimes painful, as a profeeional film editor, I want to see every inch of film or video before I start to cut.


Cheers
geo
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Old January 28th, 2007, 04:46 PM   #6
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Capture all the footage as recommended in the last post. Scrub through and put the clips you want on the timeline. Don't worry about the edit just put all the clips you think you might use in the timelime. Give yourself plenty of handles. Once everything you will need is in the timeline go to File - media manager and create a new sequence with only the clips in your timeline. FCP will delete all the other footage from your hard drive. You are now ready to trim and re-arrange the clips for your final edit.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 06:03 PM   #7
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Excellent responses from everyone. Thanks!!

I did a bit of research and found that that if you capture DV and save as DV without doing edits, then there is no generation loss. What causes the degradation is if you do any transitions, composites, filter effects, generally anything that requires a render. This causes the footage to be uncompressed and rendered (recompressed). If I just take the original footage, slice it up and save it back in it's native format, in this case DV, then I won't suffer any loss in quality. I won't actually have to deal with rendering the footage until I start the edit.

Just to be positive (after all, you can't believe everything you read on the web!), I imported 30 seconds of footage and saved it out in the same format. Then I re-imported the same footage and exported it again. I did this for 10 generations. The 10th generation looked identical to the first.

I'm going to use the method Jim suggested. This will allow me to quickly scrub the footage in the timeline looking for snippets that I want to save. Using the media manage to delete the unused footage is a great idea.

Thanks again!

Al
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